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Tuesday, November 16th, 2010

Execs turn to private skies as economy improves

While airlines still account for the majority of corporate travel, many businesses are gradually returning to private planes. They are eager to avoid airport hassles, flight delays and other potential logistical snags associated with commercial flying. For some companies, corporate jets are also a better value.

“We appear to be off the bottom,” said Dan Hubbard of the National Business Aviation Association trade group that represents companies that own and charter planes. “We seem to be seeing things stabilize at this point.”

Total business jet flights — privately owned and charter — rose 7 percent to 2.84 million in the 12-month period through September, with much of the growth seen in overseas travel, according to data tracked by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).

“People are feeling more confident,” said Shirley Mason, a vice president with Argus International Inc, which conducts market research and provides safety management and other services to the business aircraft industry. “Things are starting to improve in the economy.”

The best year for business jet traffic was 2007 when the FAA recorded 4.82 million flights.

Source: Reuters